Not for Effect Only

if this Assembly can’t afford to pass a resolution on bringing back the remains of Afzal Guru, there is no way that it could pass a motion that would oblige it to summon the former Army Chief to the Assembly

In an apparent bid to redeem the image of the mainstream political establishment in the state, battered by the former Army Chief General V K Singh’s revelations about Army pay-offs in the state, National Conference has moved a privilege motion against the General. The motion, if carried through to its logical conclusion, will entail summoning the General to the Assembly and face questions about his disclosures. But there are serious doubts about the government’s ability to do so. The reason is the Assembly’s past record in such matters. It is usually said that if this Assembly can’t afford to pass a resolution on bringing back the remains of Afzal Guru, there is no way that it could pass a motion that would oblige it to summon the former Army Chief to the Assembly. And if the General refuses to turn up, then even issue an arrest warrant against him.

 
The problem is that the mainstream politics in the state does not only reel from a serious credibility crisis – more so following the revelations by General Singh – but has also always struggled to assert its authority. Particularly, the authority to deliver justice to its people. Even in as apparently ordinary matters as bringing the perpetrators of human rights violators to book. And this does not pertain only to the cases relating to Army and paramilitary personnel. This government backed out of its promise to probe the killings of around 120 youth in 2010 by its own police force. So, in a sense, the state government has been complicit in the erosion of its authority and credibility. And now after General Singh’s revelations the establishment is struggling to retain the last vestiges of its integrity. The privilege motion is certainly an attempt to salvage some honour, but if the exercise turns out to be only for the effect as has been the case in the past, it would end up damaging the credibility of the mainstream politics even more.